Bhutan at a glance – zone i

Bhutan At A Glance – Zone I

The Western Zone:

1    Paro Dzongkhag                  

Welcome to an enchanted valley of Paro with an elevation of 2280 meters. The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions and requires a few days to be properly explored. Casting a shadow across the town of Paro and controlling all secular & religious activities in its valley is the elegant and perfectly symmetrical Rimpung Dzong "fortress on the heap of jewels" built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1645. Behind Rimpung Dzong, on the high hillside, is the castle-shaped Ta-dzong. Once a watchtower built to defend Rimpung Dzong during inter valley wars and from Tibetan invasion.  Currently Ta-dzong has housed the nation’s heritage in Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. The museum provides an excellent way to pass an afternoon and its circular shape augments its varied collection.

Paro was the first stop for Guru Rimpoche on his crusade from Tibet to Bhutan over thousand years ago. Guru Rimpoche is said to have arrived riding on the tigress and meditated in the cave in 8th century, where Taktsang monastery stand, now a hallowed shrine for Bhutanese pilgrims. Fourteen kilometers from Paro town on the north side of the valley are the burnt ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (victorious fortress). It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during 1640s.  The other places to be visited are Kyichu Lhakhang built in 659 A.D by First Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to nail down the left feet of the ogress. Dumtse Lhakhang built in 1433 by Drupthog Thangthong Gyalpo (Tibetan saint). The Ugyen Pelri Palace founded by Paro Penlop, Tsering Penjor, in the early 1900s and is now a residence of queen mother. Chorten Lhakhang , a large square Bhutanese style and Druk Choeding "Tshongdue Naktsang" is the town temple in the south of the Paro town. It was founded by Ngawang Chogyel in 1525. In addition, Dzongdrakha Goenpa , 4 sets of buildings with a large white stupa hanging on the side of a cliff is just 15 minutes drive from town and Tachogang Lhakhang "temple of the hill of the excellent horse" built in 14th century by Tibetan saint Thangthong Gyalpo "known as Iron bridge builder".

2     Thimphu, the Capital of Bhutan

Welcome to Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the globe is a bustling town on the bank of Thimphu River and set gloriously in the hills of Thimphu valley with altitude of 2320 meters. Thimphu is home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family, the Royal Government & Judiciary, and to several foreign missions & the organization of Development Projects.  Tashi Chhodzong "Fortress of the Glorious Religion", lies on the bank of the river is the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. During the warmer summer months, the state monk body led by His Holiness, the Jekhenpo makes its home in the Dzong. The National Assembly Hall is situated in the new building  on the opposite side of the riverbank known as "SAARC Building ".  Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the Zorig Chusum Institute (13 traditional arts and crafts) which contains arguably the best collection of religious and historical literature in the Himalayas. Bhutan has its own brand of Himalayan medicine that will be seen at National Institute of Traditional Medicine / Indigenous Hospital and the Folk Heritage Museum also located near to the Zorig Chusum Institute. Thimphu’s charm is not embedded in its wealth of galleries, museums or places of historic interest. Visitors must wander along the main street and into shops, all of which decorated in traditional style.

The other impressive places for the visitors are National Memorial Chorten built in 1974 by the mother of Third King in memory of her son "the Father of Modern Bhutan". Bhutanese pay their respects to photograph inside the stupa.  Changangkha Lhakhang built in 12th century by Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo is located on the cliff just above the capital city where one can fascinate the spectacular views of Thimphu valley.   Bhutan’s colourful stamps collections can be purchased at the General Post Office.  Every Saturday & Sunday, most of Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. This is the only time in the week when fresh vegetables and fruits are available. After watching Thimphu’s residents socializing in the market, walk along the charming banks of the river to archery fields where men in full gho spend their weekends playing archery. Thimphu was made the capital of Bhutan in 1955.

"Thimphu’s charm is not only seen in its architecture and picturesque setting. The real charm of the capital is found in the generosity, wisdom and good humour of its residents"

 3     Punakha Dzongkhag:              

Punakha Dzongkhag lies at an elevation of 1300 mtrs. Pungthang Dechen Phodrang was founded in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is renowned for its historical importance. It was in Punakha, the first hereditary Monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was enthroned on 17 December 1907. Punakha served as a capital of Bhutan until 1955 and Punakha Dzong continues to be the winter residence of the Central Monk Body.

Other interesting places for the visitors are Chhimi Lhakhang (temple of fertility) built on a spectacular site in 1499 by Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madman). He subdued the demoness of the Dochula pass with his "Magic thunderbolt" of wisdom. A wooden effigy of the lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the monastery, which is believed to have certain spiritual power to restore fertility to childless women. Thus, many childless women visit the temple to get blessing.  Take a drive along the upstream river valley. You will see the white bellied heron along the river valleys. It is globally an endanger bird species. Take a short walk to Khamsum Yullley Temple built on a hillock overlooking the valley.

 4        Gasa Dzongkhag   

Gasa lies on the old trade route to Tibet with altitude ranges from 1500 meters to 4500 meters above sea level in the extreme northwest of the country. The climate of Gasa ranges from temperate to alpine with extremely cold winters and short and pleasant summer. Rainfall is scanty and virtually no rain in winter in the upper region. However, there is heavy snowfall in the upper region. Zhadrung Rimpoche built Tashi Thongmoen Dzong in 1646 after his victories over the Tibetans.

The main source of cash income for the people is porterage to local as well as the tourist. Sale / bartering of livestock products are another source of income to the people of Laya and Lunana regions. The people of Gasa generally speak Dzongkha with a distinctive accent. However, Layaps and Lunaps have their own local dialect in addition to Dzongkha. Layaps and Lunaps mostly lead a transhumant life half of the family of each household spends life rearing yaks and sheep. Laya women have distinctive feature with their hand woven hat embroidered with colorful beds. The home / hand woven clothing act as a good barrier against rain and cold climate.

Gasa is famous for Tshachu (Hot Spring) which is two days walk from the nearest motorable road (Tashithang).
There are several places of hot springs having different medicinal values as the local community describes. This may be one of the reasons the people of Gasa has less morbidity rate compared to others. Hot springs at Laya and Lunana are also famous, but due to remoteness, only the local community utilizes it. The Dzongkhag has around 13 Lhakhangs and Chortens.


5         Wangdiphodrang Dzongkhag   

Wangdue Phodrang is the last town on the high way before entering central Bhutan with an elevation 1350 meters above sea level. Zhadrung Rimpoche built Wangdue Phodrang Dzong in 1638. It served as sub capital of Bhutan by controlling the East-West and South route during the Zhabdrung’s time.

The Other places for the visitors are 17th century Radak Nagtshang , the town temple which is dedicated to an ancient warlord and acclimatization in Richengang village . The Phobjekha Valley in the Dzongkhag is famous as the winter nesting place of the black-necked cranes Buddhist Institute at Gangtey Goenpa. The Jigme Dorji National Park extends into the northern part while a major portion of the Dzongkhag falls under Black Mountain National Park.

6    Haa Dzongkhag   

Haa Dzongkhag is situated along the banks of Haa river at 2670 mtrs above sea level.  Wangchulo Dzong was built in 1915. Potatoes constitute the principal cash crop for the Dzongkhag while apples and vegetables are also cultivated. Livestock rearing constitute an important economic activity in the Dzongkhag with most of the northern regions depending on livestock as their major source of income.

The places for the visitors are Chhundo Lhakhang , one of the several dedicated to the protective deity of Haa. Yangthang Goenpa , Jamtoey Goenpa and Juneydra the meditation place of Guru Rimpoche in 8th century. Lhakhang Karpo & Lhakhang Nagpo currently housed of more than 250 monks for the Haa regions.

7       Chukha Dzongkhag   

Chhukha Dzongkhag was established in April 1987, coinciding with the beginning of the sixth plan. The Dzongkhag has 3291 households. Chukha is the main entry points for import and commercial hub of the country. Major hydro power plants, which are key source of national income, are also located in Chukha Dzongkhag. This comparative advantage can foster rapid economic growth of the Dzongkhag. Chukha Dzongkhag covers an area of about 1802 square kilometers with elevations ranging from 200 to 3500 m above sea level. Cultivable agricultural land forms only around nine percent of the total area of the Dzongkhag

The places for the visitors are Wangchu Zangdo Pelri and Chukha Hydro Power and Tala Hydro project. Kharbandi Goenpa built in 1967 and Zangdo Pelri in Phuntsholing town is a replica of Guru Rimpoche’s celestial paradise.  

8       Samtse Dzongkhag    

Samtse Dzongkhag has an area of about 1582 square kilometers with elevation ranging from 600 to 3800 m above sea level with 6128 households. Majority of the sub regions are located at the foothills bordering the Indian State of West Bengal and Sikkim. Close proximity to markets in India offer excellent opportunity for horticultural development on commercial scale. Mandarin, cardamom, ginger and areca nut are grown widely for cash income. Favourable terrain, fertile agricultural land makes significant contribution to farm productivity at the foothills. Though largely rain fed, paddy and other cereal productions and yield are high. Gewogs in the northern part of the Dzongkhag are relatively poor and under developed. Samtse is far South-West and is closed for tourist.


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Опубликовано 28 Dec 2010 в 10:03 am. Рубрика: B. Вы можете следить за ответами к этой записи через RSS.
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